This most unusual name is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is one of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, often bestowed in the first instance with reference to a person's physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or supposed resemblance to an animal's or birds appearance or disposition. Here, the nickname was for a noticeably strong, sturdy person, derived from the Old French "vigoro(us)s", a derivative of "vigour", strength, vitality, from the Latin verb "vigere", to flourish. Early examples of the surname include: Walter Le Vigrus of Worcester in the 1227 assize rolls, Peter Viger in the London Rolls of 1284, Henry Vigeros in the 1275 pipe rolls of Worcestershire); William Vigerus (1279, Oxfordshire); William Vigerous (1305, London); and Lewis Vigures (of Devonshire) in the 1598 Register of Oxford University. The modern spelling forms range from Vigar and Viger to Vig(g)ars, Vig(g)ers and Vigo(u)rs, Vigu(r)s and the unusual Vigrass. Among the early church recordings of the name are those of Thomas Vigars who maried Mary Botte at the Church of Holy Trinity, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, on August 28th 1588, and William Vigar, whose daughter Elizabeth was christened at St Brides, Fleet Street, London, on September 6th 1648. Her mother had the highly unusual christian name of 'Vesselah', or so it is recorded. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name has the blazon of - per fess gold and black, six lions rampant, three, two and one, counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Vigur, which was dated 1224, in the London Patent Rolls, during the reign of Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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